CAN CHRISTIANS REALLY KNOW WHATS IS TRUTH AND WHAT IS NOT?
by Tony Warren
Not only can we know, it's imperative that we know! For it is to some degree by knowing the truth, that we avoid the error in being deceived by false teachings. i.e., how can you know what is false, if you don't really know what is true?
1st John 4:1
- "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many False prophets are gone out into the world."
You cannot try or test the spirits if you do not know what the truth is. Any wicked person can claim he is Christian and teach you every false doctrine known to man, but if you know the truth, you will know his falsehood. We try the spirits by comparing their words to the authority of the Word of God. If it is in total agreement with the scriptures, then it is true. This is the exact process by which those in Berea tried or tested Paul's witness to see if it was biblical (in agreement with scriptures). That is our example.
- "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
- therefore many of them believed; also honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few."
How did they know what the truth was? It was simple. They read the scriptures to compare what God said to what Paul was saying in order to discern whether or not what he said was true. That is how we try the Spirits. We don't blindly follow Church leaders, or trust tradition or simply trust what others say is the truth. We compare what they say to the authority (The Word of God). If it is in agreement with God, then it is true. If it's contrary to what God says, then it's false.
1st Thessalonians 5:20-21
- "despise not Prophesyings.
- Prove all things, hold fast that which is good."
Prove or test all things. Examine them to see if they are good teachings or not, and hold fast that which is good. That's how we can know for certain what is absolutely true.
As a practical example, if someone were to teach that we are saved by works and not grace, the only way to know if that were true or not is not ask our pastor. It's to read the authoritative writings of God. When we do that, we see that God says we are saved by Grace and not works lest any man should boast. Therefore we receive what God said (He is the Authority) and not this teacher. We have then tried the spirit and found it to be wanting. Likewise we are to try the words of any teacher by the Word of God to discern if it is in agreement with all of scripture. In this way Only, the Holy Spirit of God works within us to reveal what is true and what is false.
- "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
God tells us that we can know the truth. If we couldn't know the truth, how could we be held "responsible" for believing false teachings? This new age Christian Philosophy of, "we'll understand it all by and by" is is a dangerous way to look at the question of doctrines. It is especially because the truth is there written for us, that those who will not receive the love of this truth, will be condemned of God.
2nd Thessalonians 2:10-12
- "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the Love of the Truth, that they might be Saved.
- And for this reason God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie;
- that they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Those who want to privately interpret scripture for their own agenda, or make claims that we can't really know what the truth is, don't really have much understanding of Christianity. The truth is what is written in the scriptures, and those who will not receive it in love will be damned by God because of their neglect. And no one is going to be able to stand before God and say, "I didn't know where truth was". They can kid themselves, but they cannot kid God, for He is a discerner of the heart. You will generally find that those claiming that one cannot really know for certain where truth is, are those who aren't really looking for it and who really don't have time for Christ. They generally don't really want to conform to the teachings of scripture and so feign it ambiguous. In other words, they refuse to "receive" the truth for one reason or another. But someone calling themselves a Christian is insignificant to whether they really are. The truth is, Christians are born from above a new creation, wherein they have the "Spirit of Truth" dwelling within them, that they Know the truth! They don't pretend that they cannot know it, they know God and are known of Him. We know the truth when we love God, and therefore His Word. By Grace of God we accept it and receive it as the ultimate authority over the Church in matters of faith and doctrine. We know the truth because it lives within us, and has since Christ comes to make His abode there. It's not that man can't know what is truth, it's that man doesn't want to receive what is written. It's not that it is unclear, it's that man wants to make the clear, unclear. It's not in how we work the scriptures, it's in how the scriptures work us.
Copyright 1998 Tony Warren
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